Once upon a time, the Trump tariff trade looked great.....or so Whirlpool executives thought

The reality hasn't quite matched that. Now, Whirlpool ($NYSE:WHR) has a new CEO, who's got the sense to admit that A) the Trade War didn't help Whirlpool, and B) it was forced to pass price increases along to consumers. In other instances, that could spell the end of a popular consumer brand, but 2020 began with a different tone on trade with China, and the acceptance of a "Phase 1" tariff scale-down agreement was received well by investors.  

It was also received very well with Whirlpool. To start 2020, job postings soared more than 140% - a signal that Whirlpool is very much back in business now that the US-China tariff spat is headed toward its conclusion. 

But it's especially good news in the US. In other countries in which Whirlpool has operations, like India, Mexico and Brazil (not shown), job postings have yet to rebound off their recent lows, or at least, to make any meaningful move upwards. 

That's not so in the US: job postings rose nearly 55%, accounting for more than half of all global job postings from Whirlpool. And, now that the beginning of the trade war is within sight, expect that company execs will sound a bit different on next week's earnings call. 

“Tariffs continue to be a year-over-year cost increase,” Whirlpool CFO Jim Peters said on the company’s October earnings call.

Of course, how long the ‘new normal’ lasts, is anyone’s guess. Whirlpool is expected to announce results on Monday January 27, and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research expect EPS $4.30. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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